Target Corp. said it will provide its 350,000-plus workers in stores and distribution centers with face masks and gloves at the beginning of each shift and will strongly encourage them to wear them while working.
The Minneapolis-based retailer also said Thursday it will start monitoring the number of shoppers in each store and limit them if necessary.
Target will phase in the protective wear over the next two weeks. It also said it will provide face masks and gloves to Shipt shoppers as they enter its stores to pick items for same-day deliveries.
The enhanced safety measures follow similar announcements by Amazon and Walmart as these retailers come under increasing pressure to step up safety measures as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, putting its workers at increased risk in the process.
Stores and warehouses deemed “essential” remain open and have been seeing a surge in demand as other retailers have temporarily shuttered their stores.
Like many stores, Target prohibited workers from wearing masks at the beginning of the outbreak. But two weeks ago, as it faced mounting pressure from workers, it agreed to allow workers to wear face masks if they had their own. Now, Target is going one step further and providing them for employees.
“The measures we’re announcing today are aimed at ensuring we are creating a safe environment for the guests who continue to turn to Target, while also providing our team with additional resources as they fulfill an essential service in communities across the country,” John Mulligan, Target’s chief operating officer, said in a statement Thursday.
Like many grocers, Target began adding plexiglass partitions at its checkout lanes this week as a barrier between customers and cashiers.
Target will begin monitoring the number of shoppers this weekend. If necessary, it will limit the number of people in a store based on square footage.
Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, said the limit will vary by location, but said that its large stores will still be able to accommodate hundreds of customers at one time.
Other retailers such as some Trader Joe’s locations also have begun limiting the number of people inside at once to help encourage social distancing. Home Depot said this week that it will begin limiting the number of people in its stores at one time to 100 and will provide workers with thermometers to check for fevers before they come into work.
Amazon has said it will also start taking temperatures of workers at its warehouses starting next week.
Last week, Target temporarily suspended taking returns and packing items into reusable bags as part of its enhanced safety measures. It also stepped up cleaning routines to clean check lanes after every transaction.